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[102] But it is of the first importance that we should know what are the requirements of time, place and character on each occasion of speaking. For the majority of these figures aim at delighting the hearer. But when terror, hatred and pity are the [p. 507] weapons called for in the fray, who will endure the orator who expresses his anger, his sorrow or his entreaties in neat antitheses, balanced cadences and exact correspondences? Too much care for our words under such circumstances weakens the impression of emotional sincerity, and wherever the orator displays his art unveiled, the hearer says, “The truth is not in him.”

IV. I should not venture to speak of artistic structure1 after what Cicero has said upon the subject (for there is I think no topic to which he has devoted such elaborate discussion) but for the fact that his own contemporaries ventured to traverse his theories on this subject even in letters which they addressed to him, while a number of later writers have left on record numerous observations on the same topic.

1 Composite in its widest sense means “artistic structure.” But in much of what follows it virtually = “rhythm.”

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load focus Introduction (Harold Edgeworth Butler, 1922)
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